Chelonia mydas

The IUCN Red List of Threatened species relies on national or regional groups such as IOSEA Task Forces to guide collection of systematic metrics on population size and trends in abundance over time. An important goal of the IOSEA Conservation and Management Plan is to increase understanding of sea turtle population status by countries across the region.

17 Feb 2021

As iconic migratory species, there is critical importance in understanding the connectivity between sea turtle foraging and nesting areas, in order to ensure effective conservation planning and threat mitigation. The publication, “Combining laparoscopy and satellite tracking: Successful round-trip tracking of female green turtles from feeding areas to nesting grounds and back” details the first-ever recorded successful round-trip migrations of three green sea turtles in the Arabian region.

03 Feb 2021

Cousine Island is a small granitic island (25.7 ha) within the Republic of Seychelles containing a singular beach on its eastern, windward side. It is situated five kilometres from the second most populated island in the Seychelles, Praslin, and only two kilometres from the neighbouring island of Cousin (a nature reserve managed by Nature Seychelles since 1998). Since the purchase of Cousine Island by the current owner in 1991, conservation activities to monitor the nesting hawksbill females on the beach have been implemented as well as efforts to improve hatching success rates and the number of hatchlings released to sea.

27 Jan 2021

On 13 November 2020, the Directorate of Fisheries (DFISH) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam convened a ceremony to recognize Con Dao National Park as the 11th Site of the Network of Sites of Importance for Marine Turtles in the Indian Ocean - South-East Asia Region.  Con Dao National Park was accepted as a Site following the decision of the 8th Meeting of Signatory States to IOSEA in October last year in Da Nang, Viet Nam. Con Dao National Park offers important nesting beaches, as well as feeding habitats for Green Turtles (Chelonia mydas) and Hawksbill Turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata).

30 Nov 2020

Da Nang/Viet Nam, 23 October 2019– The listing of Con Dao National Park, Viet Nam, in the IOSEA Network of Sites, gives a further boost to the protection of marine turtles.

During the 8th Meeting of the Signatories (MOS8) to the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation and Management of Marine Turtles and their Habitats of the Indian Ocean and South-East Asia (IOSEA Marine Turtle MOU), the proposal to include Con Dao National Park, Viet Nam into the IOSEA Network of Sites of Importance was officially accepted.

23 Oct 2019

Bonn, 7 March 2019 - the global ban on the international trade of marine turtles and their products under Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species

07 Mar 2019

At the 13th Conference of the Parties (COP13) held last year in Dubai, Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands passed a resolution titled: The enhanced conservation of coastal marine turtle habitats and the designation of key areas as Ramsar Sites. Five out of seven species of marine turtles are endangered, three of them being critically endangered, according to the endangered species list of the IUCN. One of the main threats to the animals is the degradation of the nesting habitats on the coast, where female turtles lay their eggs and where turtle hatchlings start their lifetime journeys.

28 Jan 2019

The 2nd meeting of the Northern Indian Ocean Marine Turtle Task Force (NIO-MTTF) established by the CMS IOSEA Marine Turtle MOU took place 29-30 January hosted by the Department of Wildlife Conservation, Sri Lanka in Colombo. Opened by Secretary Douglas Nanayakkara of the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Wildlife, the meeting’s main aim was to reach agreement on concerted regional actions to conserve marine turtles.

30 Jan 2018

Individuals and organizations engaged in marine turtle conservation work outside of the United States and its territories again have the opportunity to apply for a grant from the Marine Turtle Conservation Fund (MTCF).

04 Jan 2018

The 7th Meeting of the Task Force took place on 2 November 2017 in Dar es Salaam, as a Special Session of the WIOMSA Scientific Symposium. The morning session was an open session to share information on current sea turtle research, conservation and management initiatives in the WIO region. In the afternoon the 7th Meeting of the Western Indian Ocean Marine Turtle Task Force (WIO MTTF) was held. Members from Comoros, Kenya, France, South Africa and Tanzania, as well as the Secretariat of the IOSEA MOU, attended.

09 Nov 2017
Description: 

The green turtle (Chelonia mydas) is the largest of all the hard-shelled sea turtles, growing up to one meter long and weighing 130-160 kg. In the western Indian Ocean adult females are larger than males, and have a more "bullseye" pattern in the scutes of the carapace.

Adult green turtles are unique among sea turtles in that as large immatures and adults they are primarily herbivorous, feeding on seagrasses and algae. Green turtles take between 20 and 50 years just to reach sexual maturity.  Females return to their natal beaches (i.e., the same beaches where they were born) every 2 to 4 years to nest, laying several clutches of about 125 eggs at roughly 14-day intervals several times in a season. However, very few hatchlings survive to reach maturity – perhaps fewer than one in 1,000.

The green turtle is globally distributed and generally found in tropical and subtropical waters along continental coasts and islands roughly between 30°N and 30°S. Green turtles primarily use three types of habitat: oceanic beaches (for nesting), convergence zones in the open ocean, and benthic feeding grounds in coastal areas.

Adults migrate from foraging areas to mainland or island nesting beaches and may travel hundreds or thousands of kilometers each way. After emerging from the nest, hatchlings enter the sea and swim offshore where they enter longshore currents that take them to various oceanic areas where they are believed to get caught up in major oceanic current systems and live for several years, feeding close to the surface on a variety of pelagic plants and animals. Once the immatures reach a certain age/size range, they leave the pelagic habitat and travel to nearshore foraging grounds. Once they move to these nearshore benthic habitats, large immature and adult green turtles are almost exclusively herbivores, feeding on sea grasses and algae.

The Indian Ocean hosts some of the largest nesting populations of green turtles anywhere, particularly on oceanic islands in the southwest and on islands in SE Asia. Many of these populations are now recovering after intense exploitation in the last century dramatically reduced the populations.  However, some populations are still declining. The green turtle is one of the most widely distributed and commonest of the marine turtle species in the Indian Ocean. Interactions with fishing operations are especially important threats in coastal fisheries where nets are employed, but trawl fisheries may also have important impacts.

During the 19th and 20th centuries intense exploitation of green turtles provided onboard red meat for sustained cruises of sailing vessels before the time of refrigeration, as well as meat and calipee for an international market. Several nesting populations in the Indian Ocean were devastated as a result.

Assessment information
CMS InstrumentsCMS, IOSEA Marine Turtles, Atlantic Turtles
IUCN StatusEndangered
Date of entry in Appendix I1979
Date of entry in Appendix II1979
Geographic range
Countries Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo (Brazzaville), Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa), Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Fiji, France, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Niue, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Syrian Arab Republic, São Tomé and Príncipe, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Tuvalu, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States of America, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen

No pictures for Chelonia mydas

Common names
EnglishGreen Turtle
FrenchTortue Verte
SpanishTortuga verde
GermanPazifische Suppenschildkröte
Taxonomy
ClassReptilia
OrderTestudinata
FamilyCheloniidae
Scientific name Chelonia mydas
Author(Linnaeus, 1758)
Standard referenceEckert, K.L., Bjorndal, K.A., Abreu-Grobois, F.A. and Donnelly, M. (Eds) (1999). Research and management techniques for the conservation of sea turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publication No.4.

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Other details
Additional notesIn Effect 7/1/1999

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